The first domino from the New York Yankees trade of A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates has fallen. The Yankees, as had been rumored for weeks, have signed veteran Raul Ibanez to be a left-handed hitting designated hitter and occasional outfielder.
The Yankees bypassed two former Yankees to sign the 39-year-old Ibanez. They chose him instead of the begging Johnny Damon and former World Series hero Hideki Matsui.
Ibanez hit .245/.289/.419 with 20 home runs and 84 RBIs in 144 games for the Philadelphia Philliesin 2011. For his career, Ibanez is .280/.342/.471. The Yankees will obviously hope the 16-year veteran rebounds from his worst season since hitting .229 back in 2000.
The Yankees had been expected to use some of the $13 million they saved by trading Burnett to sign a designated hitter. ESPN reported that Ibanez will sign for around $1 million.
New York holds its first pitchers and catchers workout of Spring Training today in Tampa, Fla.